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SSP Daily Digest: 5/2

by: DavidNYC

Mon May 02, 2011 at 8:00 AM EDT

Senate:

MT-Sen: TPM's headline says it all: "23rd Richest Member Of Congress: I'm 'Struggling Like Everyone Else.'" Those words were indeed uttered by Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is worth anywhere from $6,598,014 and $56,244,998. It's not quite Fred Heineman, but it's not exactly far off, either.

NM-Sen (PDF): Republican robo-pollster Magellan has a new survey out for the GOP primary. They find ex-Rep. Heather Wilson at 59, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez at 17, teabagging businessman Greg Sowards at 2, 11 other and 11 undecided. The supposedly RINO Wilson has what seems like preposterously good favorables, 84-12, among members of her own party. The linked PDF has faves for a whole host of other candidates, including some who weren't tested in the head-to-heads.

NV-Sen: Joe Trippi's really becoming the go-to guy for rich vanity candidates whom no one wants to see run, isn't he? Fresh off the vomit-caked Jeff Greene debacle, Trippi's been hired by wealthy lawyer Byron Georgiou, who so far as refused entreaties to clear a path for Rep. Shelley Berkley. Georgiou's also arranged to bring on Dan Hart, a local consultant, and pollster Paul Maslin (as in Fairbank Maslin).

WA-Sen, WA-Gov: Republican Rep. Dave Reichert suggested back in January that he might be thinking about a gubernatorial run, something he affirmed in a recent interview with a local tv station. What seems to be new is that he says he's also thinking about a run against Sen. Maria Cantwell. I can't imagine that working out well for him, and he's also quoted as saying that the "hardest part" of adjusting to life in DC was "getting used to sitting on the airplane." If he's still grumbling about those transcontinental flights all these years later, then it sounds to me like he'd prefer the governor's mansion to the Senate.

Gubernatorial:

WV-Gov: Rick Thompson has a new spot specifically noting that "across the country, the rights of workers are under attack" - and promising that he'll "stand up for workers" in West Virginia.

House:

NH-01: Joanne Dowdell, who is described as a "Portsmouth businesswoman" and has had some involvement in national Dem politics (she was a DNC committeewoman), says she plans to go up against ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the Democratic primary. It sounds like her politics, by her own admission, are pretty similar to CSP's, so I'm not really sure what the point of this is.

NV-02: Gov. Brian Sandoval has set Sept. 13 as the date for the special election to replace Rep. Dean Heller. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Ross Miller will announce the rules for the special at a press conference later today. Oh, and Sharron Angle's sent out a fundraising email (decrying the "left wing of the Republican Party"), so she's obviously hoping Miller's framework leaves the door open for her.

NY-13: The New Yorker has just about the most fearsome fact-checking department in the English-speaking world, so if you're going to call them liars, you're probably going to get your ass handed to you. That's exactly what's happening to Rep. Mike Grimm, who called Evan Ratliff's piece on his FBI days "fiction," "a witch hunt," and "a hatchet job." Ratliff has responded, and in so doing nailed Grimm on a few mistruths of his own. I don't know that this whole saga is going to have a huge impact in Grimm's district (I think the Ryan vote is a much bigger deal), but there are still a lot of documents we haven't seen. We may never see them, but they still loom out there like a sword of Damocles.

NY-26: New ads from Jane Corwin and Crazy Jack Davis. Corwin's touts her record on creating jobs, while Davis goes on a rampage, talking directly to the camera about how both parties give bailouts to Wall Street, but he "can't be bought." NWOTSOTB in both cases. Meanwhile, NARAL is endorsing Dem Kathy Hochul, but also no word as yet if money will follow.

Other Races:

Wisconsin Recall: A local judge agreed with the Government Accountability Board that eight recall elections (so not including one for GOPer Rob Cowles) could get consolidated on July 12. Democrats had asked that the recalls against Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper be certified right away, since those petitions were turned in first, and they're the two most-vulnerable Republicans, but the request was denied. Things may still get delayed if there are petition challenges, which are all but certain - indeed, Dems have already discovered the signature of a Democratic state Rep.'s long-dead father on one. (Republicans amusingly accused Democrats of planting the sig.)

The Journal Sentinel also has a look at state Assembly members who may run in these recalls, on both the Republican and Democratic sides. It's a tempting proposition because it's a free shot: These folks don't have to give up their current seats in order to run. Some of these names have already announced, while others are still considering. And finally, WisPolitics has a roundup of fundraising numbers for all the recall targets.

Grab Bag:

Dark Money: Democrats have finally followed the GOP's lead and decided to create organizations to counter Karl Rove's American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS. Former Obama aide Bill Burton and former Rahm Emanuel aide Sean Sweeney will head up "Priorities USA" and "Priorities USA Action," with a goal of raising $100 million to help President Obama. These groups will be allowed to take in unlimited undisclosed donations. No word yet if they also plan on getting involved downballot.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Election lawyers out west looking for work now have at least one redistricting battle they can probably look forward to. Steam is coming out of Republican ears now that they've seen the Dems' new map, and I can't imagine any sort of compromise taking place now. The map the Democrats are going with is one that they've released before, called "City Integrity 4"; you can find a PDF of the bill as formally introduced before the legislature here.

Missouri: Finally, the Dems do something right in redistricting: Gov. Jay Nixon just vetoed the legislature's last-minute compromise map, almost right after it landed on his desk. The CW said Nixon would wait until the very end of the legislative session to veto, to make an over-ride that much more difficult (or possibly push it into September), but it looks like Nixon chose instead to look publicly magnanimous. He's asked the GOP to send him a new map before the session ends, which makes him look gracious. I suspect that he also knows they can't over-ride, and his veto letter offered no specific complaints about the map, so he's cleverly made it impossible for the Republicans to satisfy him.

The GOP could try to make Nixon look bad by forcing a second veto, but given how difficult it was to hammer out a deal between the House and Senate, I think they'd have a hard time sending him a map that looked any different from the one he just axed. So it would look like silly gamesmanship if they tried to put forward the exact same plan. (That didn't exactly work out for Dick Saslaw in Virginia.) As long as the over-ride fails and Nixon sticks to his guns, this map will end up in court, which would count as a big win for Team Blue.

Mississippi: I have to say, I never imagined this would work - but here we are. A three-judge federal court says they are "inclined" to agree with Democrats and the NAACP that state legislative elections should be held this year under maps that were approved in each chamber but not the other (and hence never signed into law), in order to correct serious one-person, one-vote imbalances. The court could still choose to allow elections under current lines, or draw its own map, but this seems to be the path of least resistance. Note that in VRA cases which go before three-judge trial court panels, appeals are taken directly to the Supreme Court - and the SCOTUS must rule on the case (they can't kick it by declining certiorari), which is a real legal rarity.

Nevada: Nevada Democrats have released their congressional map, but we can't seem to find a copy of it online. If you see it anywhere, please let us know in comments.

Virginia: Well, it's a done deal. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the new legislative maps into law. (You can see them here.) Now we move on to the congressional map. The GOP could (and I guess will) probably try to wait until 2012 to do that, since they'll have a chance at re-taking the state Senate this fall. My view is that Democrats would be idiots to compromise and should take their chances with the voters this fall so that they can kick the map-making to the courts next year. Even if we get rocked this year, what's the worst the Republicans can do to us? Draw an 8-3 map? That's the only "compromise" they'll accept now anyway, and even that might not pass VRA muster. So there's no reason not to wait.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/29

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 8:04 AM EDT

Senate:

FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.

IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)

MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."

ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.

NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.

PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.

UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.

VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."

Gubernatorial:

PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!

WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.

House:

AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post

NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.

NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)

I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.

Other Races:

IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.

NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.

Redistricting:

Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.

Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.

Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.

Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.

Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.

Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.

Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.

Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.

Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.

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NV-Sen: Sandoval Will Appoint Heller

by: DavidNYC

Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 3:31 PM EDT

I know you're shocked:

Citing Nevada's need for "an experienced voice in Washington, D.C.," Gov. Brian Sandoval announced Wednesday that he will appoint Rep. Dean Heller to fill the vacancy of retiring Sen. John Ensign, whose resignation becomes official May 3.

"Dean is an experienced representative who is ready for the responsibilities of this office, and who will work hard, not just for Nevada, but for the entire nation," Sandoval said in a statement.

"Just as Senator John Ensign fought for states' rights and sound economic policies, Dean will speak out for the concerns of everyday Nevadans," he said. "I am confident he will help get Nevada working again."

The only surprising thing to me is that Sandoval actually mentioned Ensign by name, but Dave Catanese has the governor's full statement, which ever-so-subtly jabs the resigning senator by calling Heller a man of "deep personal integrity."

Anyhow, now that this is all but over with, we can move on to the craziness that will ensue in the special election to fill Heller's 2nd CD seat. Should be some good times.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/27

by: DavidNYC

Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 8:31 AM EDT

Senate:

FL-Sen: It's official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin's show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call "Tribal Clef" - like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida "opt out" of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.

MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.

ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn't yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he's "not ruling out" a race.

MO-Sen, MO-02: It's Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race -  and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he's thinking about running for Akin's potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin's present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I'm not sure if he'd wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).

Martin's newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin's seat -  again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is "likely."

NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I'm not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn't, a public option would have passed? I'm not getting this one at all.

NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state's Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:

Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I'm tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.

As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn't have "the most connections in Washington" and that he "won't be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders." The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I'm hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.

NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I'm doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you're curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.

Gubernatorial:

IN-Gov: We're getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we've mentioned in the past) says that he'll soon form an exploratory committee and that his "mind is made up." He's been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I'm feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.

House:

AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you'd call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention.

So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett's vision for dystopia to a plan they'd readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I'm sure I don't need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They're also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.

IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he's "pretty close to pulling the trigger" on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it'll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What's more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes - he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.

In any event, Crooks says he's likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.

MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he's likely to run. He hasn't officially declared.

NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn't tapped by the Republican Party. However, this "news" comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal "newspaper" (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it's nothing more than a rumor, calling it "the word circulating Monday."

Here's something that's not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won't run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.

NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I'd hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.

OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are "considering" a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I'm inclined to agree.

TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.

Other Races:

NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she's under Chris Christie's considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor's auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno's latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he'll appeal.

WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they'll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats' announcement they they'll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.

Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP's redistricting chair says: "If you're term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you." Dangle away, Jay!

Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: "Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting." Dems claim they "won't negotiate away our majority," but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don't see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket  -  and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I'm pretty worried.

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NV-Sen: Berkley Catching up to Heller

by: DavidNYC

Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 3:52 PM EDT

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/21-24, Nevada voters, 1/3-5 in parens):

Shelley Berkley (D): 43 (38)
Dean Heller (R): 47 (51)
Undecided: 10 (11)

Byron Georgiou (D): 28
Dean Heller (R): 52
Undecided: 20
(MoE: ±4.4%)

Rep. Shelley Berkley's favorables have barely budged, and this poll's partisan composition is little changed from January's. So what explains the swift tightening here? It turns out that Dean Heller is actually a Republican elected official, and, well, Democrats don't really like Republicans - once they know who they are:

The main thing fueling Berkley's gain is that Democratic voters have soured on Heller since he launched his Senate campaign, significantly cutting into his crossover support. In January Heller posted a pretty decent 22/31 favorability spread with Democrats, allowing him a 46/23 breakdown overall. Now just 16% of Democrats express a positive view of him and 48% have a negative one. That's caused his net favorability to drop 9 points from +23 to now +14 at 43/29.

Given that Democratic voters don't like him as much anymore it's no surprise that they're also not as inclined to vote for Heller as they were earlier this year. In January Berkley had only a 44 point lead over Heller with Democratic voters at 64-20. Now it's a 63 point lead at 76-13 and that 19 point shift in her direction within her own party is the main reason she now has the race within the margin of error.

This trend is only going to get worse for Heller, not better, as he'll soon soar to prominence once Gov. Brian Sandoval taps him to replace John Ensign. Meanwhile, Berkley actually has a lot more upside among members of her own party than Heller has with his. Dems like Berkley by a 59-9 margin while Republicans adore Heller at a 74-10 rate. This translates to Heller winning 86% of Republicans while Berkley takes just 76% of Democrats - but it's almost a guarantee that Berkley's numbers with Dems will improve. Harry Reid got 91% of Ds against Sharron Angle last year and even Jack Carter got 81% in 2006. And trust me: Shelley Berkley's no Jack Carter.

Oh, and speaking of that pending appoinment for Heller, Tom Jensen threw in an extra question about whether Nevadans are happy with the prospect of Sandoval naming a replacement, or whether they'd prefer to vote on the choice. Respondents chose "vote" by a 53-44 margin. At the end of the day, I don't know how much people really care about this sort of thing, but perhaps Democrats will be able to make some hay out of Heller getting skipped to the head of the class. At the very least, it'll paint a big target on his back, and I'm not sure I'd necessarily want the supposed advantages of incumbency in a race like this - not when greater prominence seems to be translating into crappier performance at the polls.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/25

by: DavidNYC

Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 8:09 AM EDT

Senate:

ME-Sen: It's stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won't support Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It's a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she'll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn't help - and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.

NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he'll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a "done deal."

OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he'll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.

TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won't run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.

Gubernatorial:

IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it's not unimportant. I can't really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse - he won't have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he's just feeling ambivalent. UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership... which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.

LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I'm filing this under "LA-Gov" because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he'll run again, or if he'll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.

NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year's gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn't, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand's been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he's talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he's more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.

Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year's key races. Marchand wasn't included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.

House:

AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour's last.

NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally... but in any case, Diamond didn't return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.

NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.

NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY's List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.

OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from "rumor level" to "considering level." Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he's definitely interested. He'd be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race - Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don't (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.

Other Races:

KY-St. House: It's not the biggest news in the world, but it's unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties... from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn't switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory - which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)

WI Recall, WI-Gov: I'm usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% "keep" and 47% "remove." They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying "keep" for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and "keep" for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.

Grab Bag:

House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC's Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC's "tuppence a bag" efforts, it's a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.

Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP's list - see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy "significant," but also notes that it's for five figures... so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they'll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can't possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it's more scared of what a court might draw, then we'll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they're the ones who have the most to lose - Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you're interested in drilling down on this one some more.

Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of "leadership." The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won't take place until the fall.

Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi's redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren't voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.

Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).

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NV-Sen: John Ensign Announces He'll Resign in May

by: DavidNYC

Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 6:54 PM EDT

Via the National Journal:

Two-term Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada will resign on Friday, Republican sources tell National Journal, ending a once-promising career that had the former veterinarian and casino manager eyeing a possible presidential bid before an ugly sex scandal and subsequent ethics probe snuffed out his ambition and, eventually, his Senate tenure.

Ensign's resignation will clear the way for GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval to appoint GOP Rep. Dean Heller, already an announced candidate for Ensign's seat, to the Senate vacancy.

Ensign, 53, began notifying Nevada friends of his intentions late Thursday. The senator has kept his distance from official GOP circles in Washington for months, but word quickly spread to GOP figures inside the Beltway who tell NJ they are certain Ensign will resign.

"We have no reason to doubt that it's true and believe it's happening," a senior GOP official told NJ.

I'm pretty surprised to see this happen - Ensign had many chances to resign over the years, and sooner would have been better for him than later. But with his announcement six weeks ago that he wouldn't seek re-election, there just didn't seem to be a reason for him to quit early anymore. So either he's doing one last solid for the GOP (as the National Journal notes, this will give Heller an easy and instant move into the Senate), or he's worried that the still-pending ethics investigation against him will somehow make him look worse than he already does, or both.

I'm not sure whether a year-and-a-half of incumbency will make a huge difference in next year's race (Heller would have to stand for re-election in November 2012), but I'm guessing Shelley Berkeley, the almost-certain Democratic nominee, would rather face Rep. Heller rather than Sen. Heller. I'll be very curious to see how she reacts if this comes to pass, and what her strategy looks like.

One final observation: Assuming Sandoval does the obvious thing here, this would also create a vacancy in Heller's 2nd CD seat. That would prompt a special election, presumably under existing district lines, which could be a very entertaining affair. Candidates have already been lining up for the GOP primary to replace Heller, so I'd guess they'd all likely run in a special election, too - and that includes Sharron Angle. If Dems put up a strong candidate, we could potentially steal this seat. It's going to be interesting.

UPDATE: Ensign in fact decided to announce today, via press release. He says his resignation will be effective May 3.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/19

by: DavidNYC

Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 8:01 AM EDT

HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).

IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.

MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.

Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.

MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.

NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).

OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.

TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.

Gubernatorial:

MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.

NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.

WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.

House:

AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.

CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."

CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)

Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"

FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.

FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.

IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.

IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.

MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?

MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.

NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.

NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.

Other Races:

Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.

Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.

Grab Bag:

DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.

Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.

LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.

Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.

However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).

Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.

Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/15

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 15, 2011 at 8:27 AM EDT

Senate:

FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.

NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.

NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.

NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.

PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.

Gubernatorial:

PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.

RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.

House:

IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)

LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.

MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.

NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)

NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.

PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.

Grab Bag:

DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.

VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.

Redistricting Roundup:

Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:

Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4

Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.

Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.

Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.

Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.

Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.

Discuss :: (231 Comments)

NV-Sen: Shelley Berkley Is In

by: DavidNYC

Thu Apr 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM EDT

It's just a lone tweet, but it's Jon Ralston, and it's big news if true:

Rep. Shelley Berkley will run for US Senate, source close to her confirms.

I hope this is right, because I really think this is Berkley's time, and I'm convinced she can win, especially with Obama at the top of the ticket.

UPDATE: It's official!

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Patty Murray told reporters Thursday morning at a briefing, "Shelley Berkley is running. ... Our polls show her up and winning."

Berkley said in a statement, "Nevadans know me, and they know I will never stop working on behalf of our state."

Discuss :: (140 Comments)
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